Monday, April 25, 2011

spaces and stitches

Since I last updated this blog over a year ago, I...
...moved to New Zealand
...started making mail art every day
...moved into a new space that my sweetie and I are turning into Alphabet City. It's a community letterpress, book arts, zine and creative space. We're excited about it!

Anyway, over xmas, I did a lot of embroidery in a short amount of time.

For our nieces and nephews, we embroidered each a pillowcase. We mostly used Sublime Stitching patterns.

My two favorites:

stitched bike


I'll probably be moving to a new blog in the next few months, one that I will actually update on the regular. Stay tuned!


Saturday, March 20, 2010

little heart, big emotion

I haven't totally made up my mind about Valentine's Day. I don't really feel I need an excuse to tell my darling how much I love her. Yet, I like the idea of holidays and ritual. Oh, and I love chocolate and pink things and lace and flowers. So I really cant knock St. Valentine's. I like to celebrate, make people feel special and decorate with the changing season. As my girlfriend lives 8,000 miles away, we cant exactly deck the halls, so I bought some craft felt, cut out some circles, added a touch of lace, and assembled a valentine's garland.

I'm a sentimental girl. I cant deny it.

(sorry for the bad photos)

sewing the garland

Valentine's Day Garland

Saturday, February 20, 2010

On managing my expectations...

My sweetie loves hexagons.

So when the Fall knitty came out, I was quite certain that her xmas present would have to be this shawl but as a scarf, and from some vegan material. We were yarn shopping, and she swooned over a certain linen. Being a bit of a trickster, I convinced her she would never use the linen, and I bought a couple of skeins when she wasn't looking.

I e-mailed the Hex designer and told her my intention: to change her shawl into a scarf, and knit it with a fingering linen. She was very helpful and willing to answer all of my questions and concerns. At first, this task seemed possible, something i could make happen, but the longer I sat without starting the project, the more daunting it became. I was nervous and got a bit down on my knitting self. By this point, it was already December, and I hadn't even cast on.

And so, i had to re-examine my project and intention, then accept that I needed to look for something else. I started to comb Ravelry for linen scarves, and found a Seafoam linen that seemed like just the thing...especially since I had let my anxiety get in the way of starting my project, and it was dangerously near my departure date.

seafoam scarf blocking

And so I started to knit and knit and knit. Everywhere. On the subway and while waiting for things to start, and on the plane to Los Angeles. I knit on the couch and before bed, when waking up and while waiting for my coffee to happen in my wee french press. I finished the scarf in *just* 8 days! This is a record for me. I've never finished a knitting project so quickly, and it was so satisfying to go from start to xmas present in a fat week.

It turned out to be just the thing, too. It's summer in New Zealand, after all, and the scarf was light enough for the season on the water. The linen, while tough on the hands, turned to magic after blocking--a beautiful drape, a lovely quick lace knit.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

heirloom xmas

Though I don't conscientiously think about it, I'm very much into the idea of heirlooms--though not always in the traditional sense. I'm also enchanted by building traditions, creating a moment to hold once a year, once a season, once a lifetime, and then the next.

This is true of quilts, and this is true of xmas. A few years ago, I made some xmas trees from a pattern from the small object. These were to be part of my xmas tradition. They would live in a box and then, at xmas, they would grow out of the mantle, off of a window sill, gathered together into a small festive forest. I'm still trying to get these trees back from my ex. They were part of my xmas tradition, one that i was making to share with family and loved ones. So, here's the thing about building a tradition: sometimes, you have to start from scratch, again.

This year, I knew I would be spending xmas in New Zealand with my love, and who knows what traditions we will build in hand and light. I didn't want to decorate my apartment in Brooklyn as I wouldn't be there on the day to celebrate. Still, towards the beginning of December, I thought it would be nice to make the apartment a little more festive. I decided an xmas bunting was just the thing.

I often undertake large projects, so it is nice to sometimes make something that can happen in the span of a few hours. At this month's Church of Craft at the Etsy labs, I scavenged some lace, red/white/green, fabric trimming, a bolt of candy cane micro stripes shirting fabric and various cream and white scraps. Then I used a rotary cutter and a triangular quilt template to cut out the flags. I arranged and pinned the flags to the lace, and then ran in through the sewing machine with contrasting green thread. The result was instant festive, and it was very satisfying to finish this project so quickly.

That night, my roommate helped me hang up the bunting across our living room. Our other roommate brought home a surprisingly magical phosphorescent tree. We drank cider and dressed our tree. Here was our impromptu tradition: new heirloom items, first xmas season in a new apartment. We sat in the glow (the tree ripples colors: water of a forest) and smiled at each other. Here was our suddenly seasonal and all the more festive home: new traditions, and all.

I didn't get a very good picture of the finished project, alas:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

quilts, not words

piecing my easy lap quilt

I've taken to making quilts. I am still searching for the words to talk about it. They are here, all jumbled up with emotion and tradition. They will come soon, and be sorted out, laid side by side (yes, like colors, like fabric, like a dream retold during the day when narrative must be made of a cloud). For now, here are some images.


dewberry square


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

embroidery to the moon

Last week, I started to read Adam Gopnik's Paris to the Moon. A family I am close to had just returned from a trip to France, and I wanted to dedicate some of my mental travel to their recent experience.

I'm really enjoying the book. Some sentence may take me away from the text, my mind might wander, I'll go down a different path, but I can always return to the task at hand: exploring Gopnik's expat life in the City of Lights. I find his writing engaging, thoughtful, and quiet. I believe I could use similar discourse to articulate what I enjoy about embroidery.

cherries on flour sack

I've finished a few more tea towel projects since my last post. I like that the projects are so focused. There's a clear finished point, a last stitch to be made. Watching a movie, my project in my lap, the pleasing repetition of stitches and tracing a line; it's a quiet practice.

I am a sucker for combining color, for finding just the right colorway. I love picking out a pattern, and then going to pick out a few colors for the project. I find it exciting to see colors together in tiny perfect skeins.

Also, as everyone is concerned with being more conservative with their spending, I think embroidery is perfect. The tools and supplies needed are very inexpensive. It's one method of creative embellishment that can turn old projects or clothing exciting again.

Today, I am working on my quilt top, and I am considering embellishing the quilt with little embroidered arrows. We'll see!


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Sunday, June 14, 2009

a finished embroidery project?

kitty tea towel

Before I moved into my apartment, I made a list of things to acquire in the very-near-soon. A very important item on the list: blank tea towels.

In fantasizing about the apartment, embroidering sweet tea towels to dry my dishes and hands was among my top domestic desires. As an adult, I've toyed around with embroidery, but never finished a project. My personal library has a few embroidery Zakka magazines I purchased while in Japan. Last year, I was completely stunned by the Pricked show at MAD. I have a few half-finished (or half-started, depending on how you look at it) embroidery projects, including some post-modern theorist christmas ornaments that I vow to complete before the tree goes up. So really, it was about time for me to finish a project with floss and fabric.

Last week, I got out the flour sacks I purchased at Bed, Bath & Beyond, and ironed on a pattern from the Stitch-It Kit that's been hibernating for years. Once I got started, I was surprised at how simple and fun I found embroidery. Having a *full* pattern to follow on the fabric made a huge difference. In the past, I'd sketched out rough estimates on practice fabric, and always been frustrated. I've already started my next towel! I'm looking forward to designing my own patterns and transfering them to the remaining towels via carbon paper. I love embroidery as a medium, and want to do more things with it in the future.

I'm really happy with how the kitten tea towel came out. I redid the legs after I looked at some stitch diagrams and was able to improve my technique.

Hand-embroidered towels definitely make for a more enjoyable dish washing experience. Oh, and Mrs. Myers. She helps, too.

in-progress embroidery